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Sr. Scientist, Process Development (Microbial Upstream)

Nektar Therapeutics
San Francisco, CA
Start date
Nov 16, 2022
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Job Details

The Sr. Scientist performs upstream process research and development experiments within biologics and leads the Microbial Upstream Process Development function.  This role will support early stage research to ensure a smooth transition into Process Development as well as later stage programs.  This includes developing higher performing microbial cell lines; adapting analytical methods for use with upstream samples, using bench-top bioreactors to characterize microbial cell lines in high cell density fermentation processes; authoring technology transfer documents; assisting in the  transfer of microbial fermentation processes onsite at commercial manufacturing facilities; and, continuing to support ongoing manufacturing needs.  

Additional Responsibilities:

  • Manages the microbial upstream process development, providing guidance and training to junior scientific as needed and ensures adherence to company policies and quality requirements.
  • Set-up, operation and maintenance of bench-top bioreactors (2L to 10L) for microbial fermentation. 
  • Performs in process sampling and off-line metabolite and cell density measurements during fermentation runs.
  • Adapts analytical techniques to assess product quality in fermentation samples, such techniques may include HPLC, SDS-PAGE, and ELISA.
  • Executes shake flask screens to identify improved cell lines.
  • Uses design of experiment (DOE) approaches to identify superior process parameters.
  • Exercises technical discretion in the execution and interpretation of experiments that contribute to project strategies.
  • Maintains familiarity with current scientific literature.
  • Contributes to scientific literature and conferences. 
  • Uses professional concepts and company policies and procedures to solve a wide range of difficult problems in imaginative and practical ways.  
  • Communicates experimental plans and key results in presentations and technical reports.
  • Works on complex problems in which analysis of data requires evaluation of various factors.
  • Exercises judgment within generally defined practices and policies in selecting methods and techniques for obtaining solutions.
  • Participates in the development of patent applications. 
  • Interfaces with various departments, customers and partners. 
  • Uses professional concepts and scientific knowledge to contribute to the development of company concepts and principles to achieve objectives in creative and effective ways. 
  • Defines problems, develops approaches and develops experiments with sound judgment and some supervision. 
  • Puts work practices in context with larger team. 
  • Writes reports and protocols. 
  • May act as a principal investigator in conducting own experiments. 
  • May assist with implementing organizational systems, identifying capital equipment, and projecting near-term resource requirements.


A PhD in a scientific discipline is required.  Equivalent experience may be accepted.  A minimum of 5 years work experience in a research and/or development environment is required.  Post-doctoral work may serve as experience.  Exceptional non-PhDs with demonstrated capabilities and/or significant experience will also be considered and are encouraged to apply.  

Additional Qualifications:

  • Ability to demonstrate hands-on technical proficiency, scientific creativity, collaboration with others and independent thought.
  • Microbial strain development experience needed with additional mammalian cell experience desired.  
  • Ability to clearly communicate scientific information both written and oral with minimal assistance.  
  • Ability to compose sound written work plan with minimal assistance.
  • Good communication skills (written and oral).
  • Ability to demonstrate sound judgment and problem solving capabilities. 
  • Strong organizational skills.  
  • Good computer skills including working knowledge of MS Word / Excel / PowerPoint. 
  • Experience working in an FDA regulated environment and knowledge of current GMPs as they apply to laboratory practices are a plus. 
  • Willingness to work as part of a team with demonstrated interpersonal skills.



Nektar Therapeutics is a research-based development stage biopharmaceutical company that discovers and develops innovative medicines in areas of high unmet medical need. Our R&D pipeline of new investigational drugs includes treatments for cancer and auto-immune disease. We leverage Nektar's proprietary and proven chemistry platform in the discovery and design of our new drug candidates. Our success is rooted in four key elements: our track record reflected by a portfolio of successful approved medicines which emanated from our chemistry platform and are made available globally by our pharmaceutical partners, our unique research and development pipeline of new investigational medicines in cancer and immunology, our proprietary and proven science and technology approach that fuels our discovery efforts and our team of dedicated scientists, clinicians and employees focused on bringing new medicines to patients with debilitating diseases.

Stock Symbol: NKTR

Stock Exchange: NASDAQ



Find Us
455 Mission Bay Blvd South
San Francisco
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